“You’re a what?” Logan stammered, gaping at Doc in a mixture of fear and shock.
“I’m an undercover cop, Logan,” Doc repeated. “I’ve been trying to gain enough evidence to bust this gang for years.”
“Why would you tell me this, Doc?” Logan asked, his voice much higher than it usually was. “If you’re really an undercover cop, aren’t you supposed to keep that like, a really big secret, or something?”
“Well, yeah,” Doc said, keeping his voice extremely low. “But once you told me that you found my real driver’s license, I figured that it was only a matter of time before you found out the rest of it.”
Oh how wrong you were about that, Logan thought to himself. He had known about Doc’s driver’s license for two and a half years and he had never put two and two together, before. God, I’m a dumb fuck, sometimes, he thought.
“How did you get let into the gang if you’re a fucking undercover cop?” Logan asked, in a forced whisper. His emotions were running rampant in his body and it was all he could do not to scream.
“I was working a drug case when some kid . . . what was his name . . . eh, I can’t remember, but anyway, I had been following him to catch him on drug charges when he died. About ten minutes later, I saw some of the Bloods gang come around and claim his body. I decided to try and get in, so I acted like an addict. The two guys that collected the kid’s body didn’t seem too concerned about me, so I just continued following them. When I realized that they were taking me back to their headquarters, I started to build credibility with them. It took a couple of months for them to initiate me in, but once I was, then I was golden. A blood for life, right?”
“But, why did they let you in? We don’t usually do that . . . not since Nuevo.”
“When a man can perform basic first aid and help your gang members survive blitz attacks from the Cripps, you’d be surprised how easy it is to win people over. I didn’t push too hard, I just accepted the role of doctor and did my best to keep you all alive.”
“But, why?” Logan asked again. It didn’t make sense. They didn’t deserve to have someone try to take care of them; shouldn’t he be trying to kill them? Get them all lived up and just execute every last one of them?
“I don’t know, sometimes,” Doc shrugged, his voice turning a little softer. “It doesn’t make sense, I know. You guys have taken over my life. I haven’t seen my wife in two years. I haven’t seen anyone that I was friends with before this drug bust went horribly wrong for years. They have been trying to get me to give them any information I can get my hands on so that they can get me out of here.”
“So you were just, what, waiting for the right moment?”
“No,” Doc said emphatically. “I don’t have enough information, yet. Being the doctor only gets you respect when it comes to medical things. None of the guys who have been elected leader have trusted me. It’s hard to bring down the organization without the right information. But, now, I’ve got you.”
“Me?” Logan asked, thoroughly confused. “What do you mean that you have me?”
“Well, you do still want out, right?” Doc asked, looking perplexedly at Logan.
“Yeah,” Logan said slowly, still looking confused.
“Then, I’ll make a deal with you. You get me access to the information I need to bring down this gang, and I will give you full immunity. You won’t go to jail and you won’t pay any fines. If you’re really concerned about your safety, we can even look into placing you in the Witness Protection Program. How does that sound?”
Logan was stunned. Immunity. Full immunity. It was such a sweet idea. He could live his life out of the gang. With Tasha. Hell, he could even have a kid, maybe, someday, if things went well enough. Of course, that all hinged on the possibility of making it out of this bust alive. There was a reason that none of the leaders trusted Doc - they all suspected him of being some sort of scab, which, as it turned out, he was. A full-fledged scab. However, that didn’t really concern Logan. If Doc really was promising him full immunity, then Logan actually had a chance at a normal life.
The question was then, though, could he do it? Could he really turn in the brothers that had been his family for ten years? Sure, none of them were as close to him as Steven and Harding had been, but that didn’t mean that they weren’t friends. He may not have liked all of the gang members, but he did have a soft spot for some of them, like Shredder and BJ. They were practically his little brothers. Could he really turn them in to the cops? To the Feds? For what? Immunity. Full immunity. Logan knew that this offer was the best he could have hoped for; if he didn’t take it, he knew that he would be going straight to jail.
Unless, of course, they killed Doc. If Logan walked over to Damian and told him that Doc was an undercover cop, they would execute him. For information like that, hell, Damian might just forgive Logan for all the messes he had created.
No, Logan thought sternly, that would never work. My only chance is to agree to be a snitch. A rat. A scab. Because if I don’t, then whenever Doc does manage to turn us in, I’m going to jail. Probably for life.
That was most likely true. Because there was no way that Logan could turn in Doc. Doc had been one of the better friends that Logan had, and probably his best friend that was still alive. As much as Logan was stuck, he couldn’t turn in Doc. Even if he would say that he didn’t want any immunity. That wasn’t true, though. He did want the immunity. If he actually got immunity, assuming that Doc wasn’t lying, then that was the answer that Logan had been waiting for.
“Are you being serious, right now, Doc?” Logan finally asked, arching an eyebrow at him. “You could get me immunity?”
“Yes,” Doc said emphatically, nodding once more. “I give you my word.”
What good is that? Logan wondered. You’ve been lying to me for years. However, Logan kept that thought to himself and looked instead at the wall again. After a long, heavy pause, Logan asked carefully, “What do you need me to do?”
“Are you agreeing to help me?”
“For full immunity,” Logan said once more. When Doc nodded to confirm that he would give Logan full immunity, he said, “Yes, I can do this. What do you need?”
Doc licked his lips and glanced at the closed door again. “It probably isn’t safe to talk here.”
“Just tell me what you need, Doc,” Logan sighed. “I probably already know enough secrets to be sufficient, but I want to make sure. Everyone but Damian is still asleep, most likely, so now is as good a time as any. What do you need me to do?”
“Have you witnessed any of the gang members commit murder?”
“Yes,” Logan said. “I’ve seen all of them commit murder; save for you.”
Doc just stared at Logan. “You’ve seen all of them commit murder?”
“I’ve been in this gang a long time, Doc. I was pretty high up before I tried to run the first time. When you get worked up in the gang, you see things. When you’re full initiation involves killing someone, and you are the second-in-command, you witness a lot of murders.”
“Wait, you’re saying that I haven’t been fully initiated, yet?” Doc asked.
“No,” Logan said simply. “Not if you haven’t killed someone. That’s probably why you’re in the pickle you’re in. DIdn’t you ever wonder why they never brought you to a fight until after it was already over?”
“I assumed that it was because I had medical skills and they wanted to keep me safe . . . ” Doc stammered. “You’re telling me that I’ve been away from my wife for this long and I didn’t see a God damn thing?”
Logan gave him a long, sad, smile. “If you haven’t seen anyone kill someone in cold blood, then I would say ‘no’ - you haven’t seen a God damned thing.”
“Do you know who killed who?” Doc asked, giving Logan a suspicious look.
“Give me a pen and paper, I can write down over thirty of them,” he said seriously.
“Really? You can remember that many kills?”
“You don’t forget a kill, Doc,” Logan said in a level tone. “You remember everything about the kill - who it was, where it was, when it was; if you see it, you remember. You don’t forget shit like that.”
Doc gave him a long, weighted look, but he ultimately passed him a pen and a small notebook. “Write it down. I’ll have to check out what you say, but if I can find proof, you’ll be in protective custody by the end of the week.”
Taking the pen and notebook from Doc’s outstretched hand, Logan flipped it open to the first page and started recording all of the kills he had seen. He only knew the names of about half the kills he had witnessed, but he remembered the physical descriptions of them, so he wrote those down, figuring they could trace the look of the men, or something. After he wrote down all of the names to turn in the Bloods, he looked over to Doc and asked, “Do you want the names of people that the Cripps have knocked off, too?”
Doc gaped at him. “You can name those too?”
“I’ve seen them kill at least twenty of our men. I guarantee that I can describe them for doing it.”
“Yes,” he said slowly. “I’ll take whatever information you can give me.”
Steven Trust Logan wrote in small, legible handwriting. It was the first name that Logan wrote. It felt like hell, writing that Steven was dead. It was like he had to watch him die all over again. After he wrote down the description of the man that shot his best friend, he wrote down the description of the man that killed Harding.
It was an oddly satisfying act, writing down everything that had happened to over the past ten years. It was really like he was cleansing his soul. Looking up at Doc once he finished the second list, he licked his lips and asked, “Do you want me to record who I’ve killed?”
Doc just stared at him. Logan could read his face - it was screaming loud and clear, You’re fucking joking, right? You have to be. There can’t possibly be more people that you know have died.
But he didn’t actually say any of that. Instead, he shook his head. “It’s probably better if we don’t know. Not yet, anyway. Let me check all of this information, and then once it is cleared and I’ve secured your immunity, if you want to tell us so we can inform the families, that’ll be fine.”
He thinks I’m a monster, Logan thought, staring at the shock that was still evident on Doc’s face. “Is there anything else you need from me, right now?”
“No,” Doc said, after trying to clear his throat twice. “I’ll wire this in to the police station. We should hear something back in a couple of days.”
Logan nodded and walked out of the bedroom. To his surprise, the hallway was still empty. None of the bedroom doors were open; there was no one waiting outside Doc’s bedroom to shoot and kill Logan for being a snitch. That just doesn’t seem right, Logan thought as he walked out of the room. I really thought that someone might have heard what was going on.
For a couple more seconds, Logan just kept walking. Am I dreaming this? He wondered to himself. Because kids is how it would be if I were dreaming it. I would agree to testify, I would turn in all of the guys, and I would get full immunity, and I would live and go marry Tasha, and we would have two or three kids and live happily ever after. That was why Logan thought that surely he was dreaming . . . nothing ever since he had joined the gang had gone this easily.
That was when he heard it - a gunshot. Logan didn’t turn around to confirm what he assumed to be true (that someone had executed Doc) - he just took off. He took off and ran as fast as he could. He kept running until he had gotten himself lost.
When he finally stopped running, he looked around frantically, trying to figure out where he was exactly. Nothing came to mind; he had never been where he was, before. Even in the few memories that he had of back when he was a little boy, running around with Harding and Steven, he didn’t remember this place. He must have run to the south; he knew Northern Chicago pretty well. That was the Blood territory. He must have have crossed into the Cripps territory.
Thinking back, Logan could only remember being in the Cripps’ neck of the woods two or three times. He wondered if he should be worried about being capped by one of the fucking Cripps. That would be perfect; he would be running away from the Bloods and he would get shot by the Cripps. Perfect.
Oh well, Logan thought, trying to catch his breath. It could be worse; I could be dressed in Blood colors. But at the moment, I’m actually pretty neutral.
Carrying on, Logan looked up and down the streets He wondered if he would see any of the Cripps. He wondered if any of the Cripps would recognize that he was a Blood. Is there anyone that would notice me? He wondered. It’s been a while since the last time that I killed any of them. It’s been a long time since the last time that I killed anyone.
Maybe that was why Doc had finally trusted him enough to tell him that he was an undercover cop. Maybe he just got the feeling that Logan wanted a way out, but couldn’t find it. Maybe, Logan trying to run away had started something much bigger than either he or Doc.
Could they really not recognize me? Logan wondered. I’ve been their enemy for so long. Am I really so invisible to them?
But the more Logan thought about it, the more it made sense. Turning the tables around, he realized that he wouldn’t be able to recognize any of the Cripps if they showed up in his neighborhood alone, in non gang attire. He didn’t know what any of them looked like . . . well not any of the Cripps that were still living. He could remember every detail of the ones that he had killed. But they were dead now. The living ones . . . hell, his description of them was a crap shoot. Even their leader was fuzzy in Logan’s memory. He could maybe tell you his hair color . . . maybe, but other than that, he couldn’t remember a damn thing about him.
This part of town was actually exactly the same as the North side was. That kind of surprised Logan. He had been expecting it to look . . . he didn’t know, exactly, but still, he thought that it would be somehow different. But it wasn’t. The buildings were just as tall, just as crummy in patches and just as pristine as new in others. The people were of all races, all amounts of income, and all aged. No one treated him any different than they treated everyone else. Some of them treated him kindly, offering a friendly ‘hello’ but most of them just brushed past him without saying a word.
Logan was all right with that. Truthfully, he felt kind of awkward whenever he had to return a greeting from a complete stranger. But still, he did try to do it. If someone took the time to say ‘hi’ or ‘hello’ to him, he always responded to them. Be it with a nod or short greeting. Logan didn’t know where he was going at all, but he just kept walking. Then he saw it - the Waffle House that Tasha worked at. He had no idea if she was supposed to be working right now, but he decided to check it out.
Since Tasha worked the graveyard/early morning shift, Logan knew she would be busy (if she was even working at the moment). Still, he did walk over to the restaurant and stepped inside. Instantly, he saw her. She was taking an order and she looked stunning. She radiated in the morning. It didn’t matter to Logan that she had been working the past five or six hours; she could not look bad. Not ever. Not to him. After she had finished taking the order, she walked over to the window and placed the sheet she had scratched the order on in the window. Then, she must have seen Logan, because she froze. Staring at him, Logan couldn’t tell if it was more a look of terror or joy. Maybe it was a bizarre mixture of both. Finally catching her breath, she stepped over to him quickly, snatched his arm, and pulled him to the back, by the restroom doors.
“Are you actually here?” she asked him, squeezing his arm several times as though she were trying to see if it were him or a cloud of smoke.
“Yes, I’m here,” Logan said, grabbing her hand to stop her from squeezing his arm. Damn, she certainly has a grip, he thought.
“Why?” she asked in a hushed voice. “This isn’t in Blood territory, Logan. What are you doing here?”
How was he going to answer that? He wasn’t sure that he even could. “I found out some things . . . then I heard a gunshot . . . it’s all really hard to explain. You know, here, in public. I’ll tell you when you’re off. I can hang out for a bit.”
“No,” Tasha shook her head. Looking over her shoulder, she called out, “Terry, I have a family emergency. Can you cover my tables, for me?”
“Sure, girl. You go do what you gotta do. I’ve got you.”
“Thanks,” she said, taking off her apron and flinging it in the back. “Just let me go grab my purse and I’ll follow you out.”
Logan nodded and watched her disappear in the back before coming back out with her small, clutch purse. Tasha never did like large purses. Hell, she didn’t even like medium or small purses. The less she had to carry, the better. Letting her take the leas, Logan just fell into step behind her and followed her to the back, where she had apparently parked. Seeing her car, Logan stepped over to the passenger side and waited for her to unlock it. Seconds later, he heard the click and he opened the door and slid in. Tasha was mere seconds behind him, but once she was in, she didn’t immediately put the car into drive. Instead, she simply locked the doors, turned around so she was staring Logan directly int the eyes, and said, “Tell me what is going on.”
“I don’t really know where to begin,” he said slowly.
“At the beginning, then. Or the middle. Or wherever you think you can start. I don’t really care as long as you tell me everything that is going on before we start this car.”
Ok, then, Logan thought grimly. From the beginning it is.
In a quieter voice than he had intended on using at first, Logan started slowly, “Ok, you remember Doc?”
“Well, he knew about me trying to run away from the gang two years ago. I told him about it when we all thought that Steven was going to die. Last night or this morning, or sometime in between, he told me that he is an undercover cop.”
Giving Logan a suspicious look, Tasha asked, “Why would he tell you that?”
“Apparently he is having trouble getting stuff on the gang. None of the gang members ever truly trusted him, so they never bring him on raids. They always just bring him in after the fact to try and save our people. Anyway, like I said, he has been having a lot of trouble getting any information about all of the gang members. He offered me full immunity if I testified against the gang. So, I told him everything, I told him who we’ve killed. I told him who the Cripps have killed. I offered to even tell him who I have killed, though he told me to hold off on that bit of information until I received word about my immunity.”
“You already told him everything?”
“Yeah, I told him everything last night and this morning. He wrote it all down. I left and like, five minutes later, I heard a gunshot behind me, and I freaked, and I ran like a bat out of hell. I ran until I was out of breath and when I looked around, I realized that I had come into Cripp territory. The next thing I knew, I remembered that you worked over here, so I walked until I found your restaurant. I thought I’d come say hello. Maybe see if you could think of a safe place for me. A safe place that wouldn’t put you in danger.”
“Fuck, Logan,” Tasha breathed slowly. “That’s a lot of shit to process.”
“Tell me about it,” Logan forced out a chuckle and gave her an uneasy look. “I’m sorry for making things harder for you.”
“Harder for me? Do you think that’s why I’m having difficulty processing it?”
“Logan - I’m having difficulty processing it because I am proud of you for leaving the gang. I know you’re not out of the woods yet, not by a long shot, but you did leave. If I can keep you alive for a week, then I think we’ll actually have a great chance of keeping you alive for good.”
“I would probably have to move further away,” he said uneasily. “Can’t stay in Cripp territory, not for long. They’ll recognize me at some point.”
“I don’t care where we live, Logan. As long as you’re alive and I’m alive, we’ll find a way to make it work. I’ve lost one person that I love already. Please, don’t make me lose another one so soon.”
Logan nodded and gripped Tasha’s shoulders in a firm embrace. “I promise, Tasha. I won’t let you lose another man that you love.”
For about ten minutes, the two of them just sat there, holding each other in a strong hug. The car wasn’t large, by any stretch of the imagination, but they made it work. After about ten minutes of peaceful silence, Tasha asked him, “So, where are you going to stay? I mean, I live pretty much in the heart of Blood territory, right? I don’t want you to get shot because you tried to get out.”
Logan thought for a moment about it, but then he suddenly had an idea. “I know where we can go, Tasha. Turn left at the next intersection.”
“Where are we going?” she asked, uncertainty clear on her face.
“You trust me, right?”
“Well, yeah,” she said uncertainly, looking at him with a face full of doubt. “But why does that matter?”
“It doesn’t, not really. But I am going to have you take me to my brother’s apartment. And I might need someone who loves me to help protect me from his wrath.”
Tasha smiled carefully at him and kissed his cheek. “Anything you need, baby. I don’t have a lot of muscle, but I’ll do my best to protect you. How built up can a newspaper man be, anyway?”
Logan gave an uncertain grin and remained silent. Well, Seth doesn’t exactly look like a newspaper man, but he has a lot more honor than I do. That should keep her safe. So long as I stay behind her, I’ll be safe. Probably.